That's right. You didn't read the title wrong. Don't get started with social media marketing for your business.
Or if you've already started, stop and rethink.
We're not saying social media marketing isn't necessary!
In fact, it's super important. Just as important as owning a website and an email address for your business. However, what's even more important is that you bring your business to social media for the right reasons.
Your reasons for choosing social media marketing will define your goals as well as your strategy for meeting those goals. If you start with social media marketing because of the wrong reasons, you're likely to spend time and effort chasing the wrong goals.
Don't do it.
Here are 3 really wrong reasons for choosing social media marketing for your business:
Wrong Reason 1: Because it’s cheap
Let's face it - there's no such thing as a free or cheap way to market your product or business. While you don't necessarily need to pay money to get started with social media marketing, there's still a cost involved.
For one, you'll have to be prepared to spend a lot of time listening to your audience, interacting with them and creating unique content to engage them. All of these activities need time and focus. Creating that time and focus would mean cutting down on some of the other stuff you do.
But time isn't the only cost that you'll have to incur.
With every new campaign or post that your business makes, you also run the risk of being filtered out (unfollowed or unliked) of your audience's social streams.
Social media streams are sacred spaces where people follow updates that matter to them.
The simplest way to earn a spot in these streams is by letting genuine users of your products know about your presence on social media channels. If people find your products or content useful and relevant enough, your business will find a way to their social streams.
But wait a minute.
Earning your way into your audience's social media streams doesn't guarantee that you've won their attention. Instead, you'll be among the multiple people and brands competing to be noticed in an already-crowded space.
And because this overcrowding makes increased demands on their ever-shrinking attention spans, audiences tend to filter out the "noise" so they can focus on what matters most to them.
The only way to avoid being filtered out is to start with the understanding that social media streams are a sacred space, which your brand should never violate.
It's important to continuously create exceptional content that is relevant, engaging and well-tailored for your audience. Content that stands out from the noise.
And we're not done yet. There's still another important cost to consider.
Being filtered out due to irrelevant content isn't the only cost that your business would pay. You also run the risk of diluting your business' brand image. Your audience will form a perception about your brand basis the kind of content you create and share.
Since brand perception isn't easy to change, you want to be really sure about the kind of image your brand projects through online campaigns and channels.
Don't look at social media marketing as a cheap way to market your products.
Or as just another thing to check on your list:
Instead, consider it a part of the overall marketing strategy for your business. Your social media strategy should be closely tied to your business' marketing strategy and branding goals.
Therefore, the content you create will have to be in line with these goals while also being exceptional, relevant and engaging for your audience.
Wrong Reason 2: Because your competitors have a (seemingly!) huge number of likes or followers
The number of likes or followers for a business on social media can be the most misleading indicator of influence online. These may not even be genuine because sometimes businesses find spurious ways to get these numbers.
Of course, a genuinely-earned follower is likely to add more value to your business.
Still, at the end of the day, it's not the number of followers that counts, but the quality of your followers as well as the quality of your interaction with them.That's why you should never get started with follower count as a goal.
The key goal for any business on social media should be engagement and not just followers.
The first step towards building a social media strategy focused around engagement is to spend some time listening on relevant social channels.
Wrong Reason 3: Because you believe it will help you improve customer support
Social media can work as a natural extension to traditional support channels such as telephone and email.
However, for your business to offer seamless support over social media would mean setting up a system that aligns with your existing support process.
Ideally, the person or team responsible for managing customer support on traditional channels should be listening in to customer issues on social channels and reaching out to help resolve these, ensuring positive customer experiences.
They could use any of the traditional support channels (such as email or phone) to reach out to these customers. To enable this, you would need support software that can help capture issues reported on social media as support tickets.
Above all, you need a process that connects social support with traditional support as well as with the support reps in charge of it.
But, none of this is possible if your existing system for support is broken.
It's important to understand that social media cannot magically fix problems with your traditional support process.
So before your business starts to offer support over social media, make sure that your current support process works well. Check for any gaps that need to be plugged before you take it to the social media level.
A basic well-functioning process for your core support channels combined with proactive listening and support on social media could lead to positive and delightful support experiences online.
With the wrong reasons out of the way, there's nothing stopping you from getting started with social media marketing for your business and doing a fabulous job of it.
And while you're at it, come take a test ride with Zoho Social, our social media marketing product that's designed to help businesses do just that. Sign up today.